Israel awarded its most prestigious prize to Miriam Peretz, whose two sons were killed in combat in Lebanon and Gaza. Here are three Palestinians who lost their children, but won’t likely be recognized for their grief.
By Orly Noy
In the days of the Iran-Iraq War, before Iran sent out young — and often very young — men to the front, they would be handed a key to wear around their necks. The promise was that if and when they lose their lives out on the battlefield, the key would open the gates of heaven.
I was reminded of this horrifying story when I heard that Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett chose to award the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement — the most prestigious prize given to Israeli citizens — to Miriam Peretz, the mother of two IDF soldiers who were killed in combat in Lebanon and Gaza respectively. Israel does not send its soldiers to their possible death in order to make it to heaven, but in hopes that their deaths will reward their grieving mothers with a vaunted prize.
Many criticized the Israel Prize committee for failing in the past to give the award to women, Mizrahim, or other marginalized groups. Peretz, as a Mizrahi woman, is the perfect candidate. What is her lifetime achievement? Bereavement. The committee explained its decision as such:
Bennett, who went to Peretz’s house to announce that she had won, tweeted. “Miriam Peretz, ‘The Mother of the Boys,’ who mourned Oriel and Eliraz z”l, dedicated her life to education. Miriam did not choose her difficult life circumstances, yet chose to live and give life to an entire nation. She is the mother of us all.”
Let’s put aside the hypocrisy of a decision by a state that blames Palestinians for celebrating its dead as shahids (martyrs) and supporting their families, while at the same time awarding its most prestigious prize to a woman whose public status is the result of her sons’ deaths. If the criteria for winning awards is how constructively you deal with grief, then the following three people should have won not only the Israel Prize, but the Nobel Prize.
In January 2007, Bassam Aramin mourned the death of his 10-year-old daughter, Abeer. She was killed by a rubber bullet fired by a Border Police officer, after she bought herself a few sweets on her way home from school with...Read More